MoJ IT network outage ‘was not the result of a cyber-attack’

A nationwide IT network outage affecting the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) over the past week was not the result of a cyber-attack, according to a recent announcement on Gov.uk.

Instead, the IT failure, which reportedly affected hundreds of court sites, was due to an “infrastructure failure” in the data centre operated by suppliers Atos and Microsoft.

MoJ IT network outage caused by “infrastructure failure”

In a statement to parliament on Wednesday, Justice minister Lucy Frazer said the issue was “caused by an infrastructure failure in the MoJ’s suppliers’ data centre”.

In a statement, the government said that it was working with Microsoft and Atos to identify the root cause of the issues.

The network work disruption affected devices connected to the main MoJ network, which is also used by HMCTS and other MoJ agencies and a number of arms-length bodies.

Organisations that were affected by the outage include the Crown Prosecution Service and the Criminal Secure Email System (CJSM), which left criminal prosecutors and judges unable to send messages to each other.

Earlier this week, the XHIBIT system, which provide real-time information on the progress of trials and record results, was also affected.

The government said the issue wasn’t connected to an incident that affected 12.5% CJSM users last week.

Network access restored

The government said network access had been restored to 180 court sites and that over 75% of court staff are able to access their IT systems.

The government claims the network issue was unrelated to a £1bn project to modernise the courts’ Criminal Justice System. The outage has only affected the existing MoJ network.

The Common Platform IT system is still in the testing phase and was not affected. The government also said the prison service was unaffected and that the reforms service, such as divorce and probate, continued to work throughout the disruption.

“Teams will continue to work around the clock to resolve the remaining issues. We will continue to update this news story with any progress made,” the government stated.

Frazer said that the MoJ was very disappointed that suppliers failed to resolve the network problem, and said that the MoJ’d permanent secretary, Richard Heaton, had a meeting with the chief executive of Atos on Wednesday afternoon.

She also said that the government will review if the penalty clauses in suppliers’ contracts would allow the government to claim compensation for the outage.

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